The television screen flickered with images of the Fat Cat: a man fat with spent wealth. His face was greasy and pockmarked, and he had many heavy piercings pulling the flesh of his ears downward. His lobes touched his shoulders as he chuckled. “Do you really think you’re capable of this mad act? I’m the boss of the world, and you’re just a broken robot and a brat who can’t keep her nose clean.” He grinned widely. Several of his teeth were capped in gold, and glittered with spittle. “I know you’re around the city somewhere, watching this. Go ahead and give up, and I will even let you keep your busted up rust wagon.”
The feed clicked off, and the man’s grin faded as he turned to look at the thin, bug-eyed techie. “You got all of that, right?” he asked, his voice husky.
“Yes, I did.” The man nodded, then looked around. “Are you sure you should be out so publicly?” He gazed around at the electronic-covered dark walls. Wires, thick and thin, hung from the ceiling, held together with zip ties. Blinking consoles and dim lightbulbs filled the room with an eerie half-light of many colors.
Fat Cat sighed and pulled a pair of glasses from his suit, then slowly put them on. He sighed. “Whatever it takes to capture them. He reached for a glass of water and drank deeply, then wiped his lips. “They have single-handedly destroyed two cities. I can only hope that if I make a show of being the ‘bad guy,’ they’ll stop hiding. There is nobody left living in this city who isn’t completely destitute!” He growled, then placed the glass down on its coaster.
“Will they see the feed?” Fat Cat asked again.
“Yes. If they are anywhere near a television, they will– as will those destitute citizens.”
“If that is what it takes, so be it. I am willing to sacrifice my image for the sake of capturing those two terrorists.” Cat’s thick hand came to rest on the techie’s shoulder. “Thank you for your help. My bodyguard outside has your payment. You might want to get going before they can arrive.”
The rat-faced man with his large eyes nodded and hurried out so quickly that he almost didn’t grab the pay envelope. He dashed for the elevator, then detoured for the stairs as he saw movement.
The Fat Cat waited inside the room, waiting for the two. He only hoped that his desperate gamble would work– that the girl and her pet robot would come peacefully. Poke, poke at their defenses, and maybe they would lash out at the man who controlled the needles. “Feh, it’s like Voodoo.” he scoffed as he sat back down in his chair to wait. If the demented girl and her contraption managed to kill his bodyguards, he would likely be next. The man sighed as he waited.
Tension was high in the hot little room. He got up and began to pace slowly. As a cluster of wires brushed against his head, he looked up with a grunt, then tried to tuck them above some wires that were bound more closely to the ceiling.
The waiting continued. He wiped sweat from his brow into his hair with a sigh. “I wasn’t built for this waiting game.” he admitted to himself with a sigh as he approached the puny window and forced it open. He winced as the bright light of day shone in, illuminating the disturbed dust. The room looks strangely serene in this new light, and Fat Cat relaxed, then walked to his chair to reflect.
It was two years ago that this trial began. A schizophrenic orphan with high intelligence marks escaped the hospital. She managed to get money somehow– he still had people investigating that. She created a robot that looked like her uncle, then killed several people when they refused to sell parts to her, and eventually, the creaks of her robot alerted people enough that they forced people from their stores and closed the doors. Eventually, even the wind scared store owners, and the girl moved on to another town.
He groaned as he tried to calculate the sheer cost of the damage to the economy, the lives lost, the property ruined. He couldn’t come up with a number that he could say without shame. He should have acted sooner.
He pulled a sheaf of notes from his pocket and read over them. They were notes from the various nurses that cared for the girl until her escape. She had delusions– grandiose ones, at that. She envisioned herself as a secret agent, out to protect people. She often tried to attack nurses who were trying to medicate the other patients. He flipped a few pages and read over the reason she was admitted at all. She was originally sent to a foster home when her parents died– a temporary measure, until her uncle could be contacted. He never showed, and the girl stayed with that unfortunate family. Over the days since she entered their home, her mental tweaks began to show through. Finally, there was irreparable damage to the foster family– the girl killed the family dog in front of a three year old child, and was immediately sent for corrections.
While there, she was diagnosed properly, and moved to a permanent placement at a hospital.
The man’s eyes trailed back. Her parents died of a simple car accident involving a drunk driver. Fairly common, though less now than it was back then.
A sound at the door caught his attention, and he stuffed the cards away. For all he knew, it might have been her. Instead, there wasn’t a sound. “Nicola, what was that?” he called after a few moments.
“Rigo almost fell asleep.” came the nasal voice of the Fat Cat’s most trusted bodyguard. “We been here hours now. She coming?”
“I hope so. You boys keep sharp. I don’t want any deaths, if they can be avoided.”
“Aw, but the bad guys have to die, so the good guys can save the day!” a young female’s voice called from down a dark hall.
“Hoy! Rigo, you was supposed to be watchin that side! When’d it go dark?” Nicola scolded as he frowned. “Hey, girly. Boss-man just wants to talk. He dun want any troubles.” he urged. The man forced a smile, hopefuly that this terror of a child was going to end up being like his own little girl, back home.
“Shut up. You work for him, so you can’t be trusted.” The voice was high and filled with scorn. “He comes out here to talk, and you two stand behind him.”
Fat Cat sighed and stepped out of the room. He removed his bulky coat and tossed it to the ground. “I want to talk, Alexis.” he said. “Just talk. I know that you need medication in order to concentrate on repairing your robot.” He took a deep breath. “I can get it for you. I will hand you a prescription penned by your doctor, and you can take it to a pharmacist of your choice. It will be filled for free.” He waited a few moments. She was too quiet. “Alexis?”
“Kill him, uncle.” the girl said, her voice as sweet as a biscuit smeared with honey. Her laughter was clear and crisp as it echoed in the hall. Her robot creaked loudly as it began to move, and Fat Cat and his two guards backed up. Finally, the robotic ‘uncle’ entered the light. He was badly damaged, and rust coated his leg joints. There wasn’t a single gun on him.
The bodyguards began to fire. The robot’s arm flew off. Holes appeared in its chest and head. Finally, it stopped in its tracks and fell to one side. His eyes flashed on, then dimmed slowly as his damaged parts finally gave out.
Down the hall, the girl shrieked in rage.
Fat Cat frowned, then jumped over the robot and grabbed her before she could dash off. His thick hands gripped her twig-like wrists, and despite her howls of protest and agony, he held her tightly.
“Come on. You need help, little girl. You’re very sick…” He sighed and helped his bodyguards lock the girl in cuffs that were made specifically for the crafty girl. They patted her down and removed any technology on her person, as well as anything potentially harmful.
The girl continued to shriek wordlessly as she was carried out the back entrance to a waiting ambulance.